Trish Vradenburg, my only sibling, was co-publisher of Tikkun magazine from 2001–2010 with her husband George Vradenburg.

Growing up in our house in Newark, NJ, Trish was already by age six a bright star, a light of joy in our family that was still mourning relatives murdered in the Holocaust. As she recalled, it was hard to get herself noticed in the heavy political discussions that our mother, father and I jumped into every night at dinner, so she turned to humor to get her voice heard.

That humor eventually led her to become a writer for two television shows, Designing Women and Kate and Allie.

Yet it was a special kind of humor that she developed—incisive yet gentle, blending insight with kindness, never the nasty kind of humor that makes people famous. As a result, she could make important...

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